In 2018, Yann Lévy (Escondite, Biiru, Gokudo, Hanzō) came up with the idea for the concept behind Neo Tokyo: a place with a retrofuturistic aesthetic, particularly inspired by the movie Blade Runner – of which he is a “die-hard fan”. — and the “cyberpunk” movement, which serves ramen and other noodle dishes like those enjoyed in Japan, a country the restaurateur has visited many times.
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Just before the pandemic hit the planet, he targeted a building on the ground floor of 425, avenue Viger Ouest, recently completely renovated and located in the heart of a sector in full development, with the new Humaniti complex next door. and surrounded by the Palais des Congrès and the Caisse de dépôt et Placement du Québec, among others. “Having lived in the area for years, I know the neighborhood well, what’s available… and what’s not, including ramen! “, he says.
Preferring to play it safe during this period of uncertainty, he waited for the situation to stabilize before launching his project, finally opening its doors in December after several problems and delays. The success was immediate, so it had to be closed for a few weeks to make adjustments. Reopening in early 2023, with a reduced menu for the time being, Neo Tokyo is not taking reservations. When we visited on Wednesday, a line had formed in front of the door at 5:30 p.m., and a few minutes later the restaurant was full, showing interest in this new offer in the neighborhood.
It is true that the place catches the eye with its design that gives the impression of being in a Tokyo alleyway lit by neon lights and posters. And the menu offers a trip into the world of Japanese noodle bars. There’s a tonkatsu ramen soup and a few appetizers that won’t faze izayaka lovers — chicken karaage, gyoza, shrimp won-tan — but the restaurateur wants to focus its offerings on mazes, bowls of noodles without broth. The one with bacon cream is rich and flavorful, reminiscent of carbonara noodles with an Asian twist. Neotokyo’s Taiwanese mazesoba with its beef soboro (minced meat cooked in a dashi), its various toppings, runny egg and noodles hidden at the bottom – you have to mix it all! – Comes with a small bowl of rice, which is used to taste the remaining toppings at the bottom of the bowl after the noodles have been swallowed. Several dishes were also created in collaboration with Sighetoshi Nakamura, who owns an eponymous restaurant in New York, considered by many to be the “god” of ramen, and who Lévy befriended.
To quench your thirst, refreshing and light cocktails, sake and Japanese beers on tap are available. The restaurateur plans to expand its menu over the next few months, which is open in takeaway mode at lunchtime and also later in the evening. And we bet the customers will be there!
Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m
425 Viger Avenue West, Montreal